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Will's Tanks Journey (Pic Heavy)

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I am going to compile a single thread for all my tanks here. I have pictures from most tanks, but have lost many over the years. I have been in the hobby for 5 or so years. I have failed and I have succeeded. I am now at the point where keeping plants is less challenging. I post to other social media sites more commonly, so if you are interested in seeing more pics than are here, check them out.

Flickr:[email protected]/albums

Note: Some of these tanks are several years old and/or broken down years ago. The pictures I have are limited. I also did not like to take pics of my failures. I am more inclined to do it now to tell how I have improved.

Lessons learned:
-Competition scapes my look nice, but if you cannot get your hands in the tank, you won't do the maintenance
-When all else fails, adjust the light period. Most of the time, you have too much light for too long of a period.
-CO2 is like a cheat code, but is not required for many tanks

My first tank was a 15 gallon Aqueon with first gen Finnex 24/7:
I wanted a haunted forest tank and tried dirted for the first tank to save money. First failure was I could not get my hands in the tank for maintenance. Eventually, I broke the glue holding the wood up. My other failure was trying to isolate dwarf sag in a dirted tank. Every time I had to remove plants that grew out of the area I wanted, the dirt pulled up was a mess.

Second tank was a 10 gallon buce tank:
This tank was cool in theory, but failed in a few places. First, more stems could have helped the initial plant acclimation. Additionally, removing damaged leaves before adding them to the tank would help. This tank had too much light, which caused significant algae and maintenance. Faster growing plants would have helped.

Nuvo 20 AIO:
I consider this tank highly successful. Tank was BDBS w/ root tabs with a 24/7 light. Started tank with CO2, but did not replace after the tank ran out. Eventually I had issue with mulm buildup, mainly in the rear chambers. This resulted in some algae becoming more common towards the end of the tanks life cycle. Tank was broken down to make space for reef 2.

Crypt jacobsoni (sp?)

Fluval Spec III:
I stopped using the tank. Was fun for the time being, but I had 12 or so tanks at the time and opted to move to a few larger tanks vs tons of smaller. Would have been easier to maintain had I created a better siphon. Filter area was modded slightly and used a fennix clip on light.

No tech Jar:
This tank was so so. I built it to test my custom dirt mix that I used for the 180. This started with no flow and a cheap led bulb. Was too much light…trending theme. I replaced the bulb with a different. Tank started with no flow, but eventually added an airstone. The lavarock was intended to increase surface area, but became a detritus trap. Once I removed and converted to the crypt scape, went well until I skipped water changes for a month. Did a big water change and trimming... everything crypt melted. Waited another month to get the crypts back, then broke down.
Initial failed scape

The fail. Over time, I lost most of the s repens. I do not have luck with them. Tanks migrated to crypt tank after breaking the driftwood off its plate. Again, make sure you can get your hands in the tank.

Shellies 20L:
This was a fun tank and breed hundreds of shells out of it. The most I had at a given time was around 150. As long as the water stayed clean, they just kept breeding. I opted to upgrade to the nuvo 30 below after a major fail though. I had mini ramhead snails in the tank. They had a short lifecycle and would spawn and die quickly. This led to lots of empty shells around the tank. These shells were the perfect size to get stuck in the lily pipe inlet. Needless to say, I went on a cruise for a week and when I came back, my shelly colony went from 50 down to 7. The lily pipe from the tank to the filter got clogged and had zero flow for who knows how long. This depleted the oxygen from the tank.

Shellies Nuvo 30:
This was setup to remove the mini Ramshorn snails, but it turned out I had 6 females and 1 male. The male ended up jumping in the middle of the night for some reason, so the tank got broken down. Couldn’t bring myself to restart the colony. I also had them a couple years already.

Goodeid Forest:
This started as a “scaped tank”, but I never really liked the aesthetic. Ended up just being an overflow tank for plants and turned into a crazy jungle. This tank is being upgraded to an 80 gallon. Stand and canopy built. Started finishing the wood, but need to complete it.
9/30/2018 – Goodeids arrived


3/23/2019 Full jungle


10/19/2019 Major cleanup

11/27/2019 Tank grew back in nicely



Angels QT
First week of altums, they arrived with clamped fins. One was a runt and died after several months, the rest still doing well as of 8/17/2020



Other QT:
Plant and Tetra QT 75 gallon side shot. Major fail on this tank. The first and only time I have ever forgotten dechlorinator. I forgot for 10 minutes during WC and the levels were so high the fish were jumping out of the tank and into the lid. Even adding it immediately, lost several fish.

Sometimes the fish align

Office Edge 6:
This was a fairly successful tank except for one thing. I ordered some TC carpeting plant, I think glosso, that would require minimal trimming. Not sure what the plant was, but it grew like a tiny stem. Maintenance in a “sealed top” tank was a pain, and there was constantly trimmings floating on the glass. Had it been the plant I thought it was, the tank would still be up.

Sump Design

Top Down, First plant

12/7/2018 First week, water cleared


1/25/2019 IM HUNGRY



12/7/2019 – Driftwood still floating after 14 months….

4/3/2020 A nice surprise, one of my anubias was a white variety

5/17/2019 FTS

6/5/2019 This is probably the best time for my vals before they became a complete mess. Initial plan for the scape was to flow top right to bottom left, then swirl back around.

7/17/2019 Major setback for crypts following this. House flooded. Had to cut out carpet, drain tank 95%+ and move tank. Fish put in bins on patio

8/8/2019 Tank back together after carpet replaced.

Finally some much needed cable management.

11/14/2019 FTS and removing MTS

3/26/2020 Closeup of the right side

4/5/2020 Found some baby sterbais in the sump

5/30/2020 At some point, I removed the vals. They were a complete mess. The longest leave was over 10ft. It grew up 2ft, across 6ft, and was down in the plumbing. The vals also hurt crypt growth from extreme shading.

6/20/2020 Farlowella cats spawned

DIY Canopy I am still working on

Nuvo30 v2 Buce Islands:
This tank was started May 1, 2020. The tank has CO2, 2x Kessil A80 Tuna Sun, and a Fluval 306. I wanted something different in planted tanks and
The scape

With sand

First Planting


Random plant decided to grow out the top

Second planting


8/10/2020 Trim and planting

Upcoming 80 gallon:
Determining the proper height for light mount

Stand Build

Few of my Reef tanks:

Nuvo10, first reef

Edge 6 Reef V1

Nuvo 30 Frag tank DIY stand

Nuvo 30 DIY Canopy

Gets wet
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227 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Added sand and some of the driftwood sank. Still planning around with the design. Started catching goodeids and moving them over due to fighting. There were over 40 moved and still 10 plus in the one foot cube. Will be happy to stop water changing that tank so much.

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